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Scotiabank Family History Centre

Trace Your Roots

Just as Pier 21 was a new start for nearly one million immigrants, a journey into your family history could also begin here at the Scotiabank Family History Centre.

In a library, employees are helping two people find information and family records.

How to Visit:

  • In Person: Every visitor who enters the Scotiabank Family History Centre is greeted by a knowledgeable and experienced staff member ready to help you research.
  • Online: Research requests can be made remotely through our website. Submit a research request online.
  • Be Prepared: Plan for your visit by reading this helpful blog post of hints and tips about what to bring. Whether in person, or online, we will let you know if we need more information.

We Can Help Find:

  • Immigration Records:
    • Before 1865: The chances of finding an immigration document for someone arriving in Canada before 1865 is low. However, there are still other types of broader genealogical research opportunities using census records and birth, marriage and death records.
    • 1865 - 1935: Canada started keeping immigration records in 1865. We can search records for all Canadian and most American ports of arrival, as well as some European departure records.
    • After 1935: Access to Canadian immigration records after 1935 is restricted in accordance with the Canadian Privacy Act. The documents are currently held in Ottawa by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and are not available to the SFHC or general public. We can provide you with the required forms and explain the legalities involved in requesting them.
  • Genealogy: Our specialty is finding immigration documents, however we can also help with broader genealogical research using sources such as censuses, birth, marriage and death records, obituaries, newspapers and military records.
  • Ship Information: Ship information packages that include ship facts, oral histories and lists of crossings, can be prepared for anyone arriving in Canada after 1865 (including after 1935) for all ports of entry. These do not include passenger lists. Commemorative Ship Photos: Available for purchase in person on the day of your visit or online for $25.00 CAD + tax.


Copies of records are available for a research and processing fee of $15.00 + tax.

Submit a Research Request Online ⇨


The history of our families in Canada needs to be remembered … and the knowledgeable staff at the Scotiabank Family History Centre in Halifax can help make this happen.

Just as Pier 21 was the beginning of a new life for almost one million immigrants, the journey into your family history could also start here.

With personalized and individual assistance, our professional staff will trace your genealogy onsite. Immigration records, vital statistics, church and census records, books and regional histories are just some of the sources used by staff for this unique service offered by the Museum.

So many people have been impacted by time spent in this space, uncovering stories and unknown details about their families across the generations.

People like Canadian Playwright Hannah Moscovitch, who spent an emotional afternoon discovering how her family’s Canadian story began. In 1908, her Jewish Romanian grandparents escaped a Pogrom for a second chance in the new world.

Experienced researcher or just starting out, a visit to the Scotiabank Family History Centre at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 will help you discover your family story.

Countless Journeys. One Canada.